Play with words



The mission of the Phillips’ Mill Community Association (PMCA) is to promote the arts and preserve the artistic and cultural heritage of Bucks County. The PMCA is committed to the active endorsement of the tenets of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of what we do as an organization and for all program participants.

In harmony with that mission, the Phillips' Mill Drama Committee established "Play with Words," a juried one-act playwriting challenge for students in grades 7 to 12.

On Sunday, March 3, 2024, at 3 pm, we will celebrate the student playwrights whose winning plays were selected to be read on the stage at Phillips’ Mill by actors in front of a live audience. Friends and family and teachers are welcome. The playwrights will also receive a cash prize of $100.00 and a commentary of their work written by the jurists. Visit the Phillips' Mill events calendar for more info.

Matilda Bray

Matilda Bray is an 11th-grade student at the Solebury School who published her first book of poetry, “Under the Moon as my Sun,” in 2018. The book was featured on PhillyCam for the 2019 Philly Loves Poetry Interview and Reading Series. Moonstone Press will publish Bray’s second full-length collection, “When You Wanted Blue,” in the spring of 2023. Her work has been published in Rattle, Tipton Poetry Journal, Sad Girls Club, OpenDoor Magazine, the Schuylkill Valley Journal, River Poets Journal and the Moonstone Poets Anthology. Matilda, who regularly competes at open poetry competitions, is a voracious reader and cross-country runner, who resides in Bucks County, PA, with her family and beloved dog, Tuck. "I would love to thank Sarah May, Peter Ammirati and Don Kaplan, who are all teachers at Solebury School that made this contest known," notes Matilda.

Maria Kesisoglou

Maria Kesisoglou is a sophomore at New Hope-Solebury High School. She has taken on all sorts of creative endeavors, from music to graphic design, and is proud to present her first play, “Roll Over Beethoven,” written with her good friend and partner in crime, Maeve Sheehan.

Gracie Lin

Gracie Lin, age 12, attends Princeton Day School, where she enjoys her English and math classes, as well as playing the cello in the school orchestra. “Our Blue Period” is her first introduction to playwriting. Gracie also plays the piano as an extracurricular. Outside of school, she likes drawing, playing games and talking to her friends. Besides writing, she mainly focuses on visual art, and takes art classes after school. She was recommended for this competition by her former humanities teacher, Angharad Rebholz, and was excited to participate in it.

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan is a sophomore at New Hope-Solebury High School. Though “Roll Over Beethoven” is her first venture into playwriting, her theater experience includes the Bucks County Playhouse Youth Company’s production of “Dream Awake,” as well as her high school theater club’s productions of “Puffs,” “Mamma Mia!” “Twelfth Night” and the upcoming “Mean Girls.” Besides writing and acting, Maeve loves historical sewing, reading, and playing the cello and piano.

Entry Form

Watch The Reading

SEPTEMBER 11, 2023 – JANUARY 15, 2024

Following the success of our Emerging Playwright Competition for adults, we felt the need to include the students in our community. It is our belief that participating in "Play with Words" will help students find their voice, enhance learning, promote creative thinking and improve literary skills. Our vision is for all students to learn to express themselves through the arts thereby fostering positive, active community members who find success, confidence and acceptance.

The first 50 blind submissions received during September 11, 2023 – January 15, 2024 midnight by students in grades 7-12 attending school within 25 miles of New Hope, Pa. will be considered. Our panel of judges will evaluate all blind scripts, provide a commentary for all plays and select the winners.

Contest Rules

  • All work will be original and unpublished
  • Participants will be in 7th through 12th grades and currently enrolled in a public, private, charter or home school within a 25 mile radius of New Hope, Pa.
  • Playwrights under the age of 18 are asked to provide consent from a parent or guardian to participate. An e-signature consent is attached to the entry form.
  • Playwrights will submit one play only.
  • Scripts can be of any genre, will not exceed 12 pages, have two to six roles and should have a running time of 10 minutes or less.
  • Scripts will follow standard play formatting as in the American Standard Playwriting Format. At the least: one-inch margins, 12-point font, character names capitalized, stage directions in italics, and page numbers included. For more information, please follow this link to American Standard Playwriting Format:
  • Scripts will be appropriate for a general audience. Feel free in your writing but any script with extreme foul language will not be considered.
  • Scripts are blind. That means your name cannot appear on your script. Our judges will score the scripts without knowing who the playwrights are or which schools they attend. Therefore your script will not include any form of identification, only the entry number provided by you to our website. (See instructions below.)
  • Scripts will include a character breakdown.z
  • Please thoroughly proofread and time your script.
  • Playwrights will be available to attend a staged reading on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at 3:00 p.m.
  • Rehearsals will be scheduled at Phillips’ Mill at a time and date to be determined between February 12-29, 2024. While not mandatory, playwrights are encouraged to attend these rehearsals.

Entry Fee

There is no entry fee for this competition. We ask only that you bring us your best work and enjoy the experience!


Entries will be received during the period of September 11, 2023 – January 15, 2024 midnight. Complete the online entry form below. You will provide a six-digit number of your own choosing. This is your entry number. This ensures that your work will be judged anonymously. The site will not accept submissions after 50 scripts have been received.

  1. Submit your script as a PDF file, using the unique entry number as the only identification of the author and as the name of the file.
  2. Once ready, you'll upload your submission using the entry form available below.
  3. Proofread your form and click on “Submit.”
  4. Once the submission is successfully received, you will receive an email confirmation of your entry details. Please note: If you do not receive your confirmation, please check your spam folder, in case it ends up there.

If you do not have access to a computer, arrangements can be made to accommodate your submission. Please contact us at


Judges will provide commentary on all submitted works. Each winning entry will receive a $100.00 cash prize and a staged reading before a live audience at Phillips’ Mill on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. Co-authored plays will receive one cash prize to be shared by the authors.

  • PMCA will select directors and actors for the staged readings.
  • Winning playwrights must attend the staged readings on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at 3:00 pm, and participate in the moderated discussion with the audience after the readings.
  • Please note: the performance is a staged reading, not a production.
  • Parents, caregivers, families and friends are encouraged to attend.
  • In the event of inclement weather, all activities will move to the following week. An announcement will be made on the website if a weather delay is advised.


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Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus